Scout Taylor-Compton has made a huge name for herself in the horror community. She broke into the scene as Laurie Strode in Rob Zombie’s Halloween, but her recent performances in Ghost House and Feral have brought her back into the genre limelight in a big way.
I spoke with Scout about her experiences in each film and what makes these intense roles so enjoyable.
Kelly McNeely: I know Ghost House was filmed in Thailand, but it feels very international as a film – not quite American, not quite Thai, it kind of bridges both. What was your experience like, working on the film in Thailand?
Scout Taylor-Compton: It was honestly probably one of the greatest experiences, to be honest. It wasn’t my first time going to Thailand – I went for the Bangkok Film Festival – and I became such a fan of the culture in Thailand and, I mean, it’s just such a beautiful place. So I had such a great time being able to film there. Everyone’s so open to production happening there. It was definitely a different experience than filming in Los Angeles, per se.
KM: Being fond of the culture beforehand, were you familiar with the lore of ghost houses before the film?
STC: I knew of them, but I didn’t know, like, in detail what they were all about. So it was pretty interesting to find out what they actually believe with these ghost houses and how much the film is kind of – I mean – kind of a reality that there’s the belief that it can actually happen.
KM: Now, we’ve seen a traumatic emotional transition from you before with your role as Laurie Strode in Halloween and Halloween II, but Ghost House kind of cranked up that intensity with a shorter transition time. What was that like for you as an actress, and how did you keep that high-level intensity going throughout the shoot?
STC: I don’t know! I mean, it’s so crazy, people always ask me how I’m able to do these intense roles, and I don’t know, I find them very easy for me. I guess maybe I have a lot of energy anyways, so when I put it into something else creatively, it kind of helps me. It’s kind of like a therapy release, to me, when I film, you know, you can get out all this… stuff in every take. I love doing these intense roles, they’re just really fun.
KM: Of course, and there was just so much cool stuff with the practical effects and the whole possession scene was.. all over the place and so intense. It looks like it would have been both a lot of fun and a big challenge as well.
STC: Yeah, when you have a cool crew to work with and director and cast, I think it just makes that experience so much more fun than being a method actor and taking it super serious. It’s like a playground, for me, acting.
KM: I wanted to talk about Feral, because I just saw it the other day and I really liked that it could have been poised as a zombie film, but it doesn’t really feel like a zombie story at all. It feels like a whole different sub-genre. Your character, Alice, mentions the z-word, but it breezes right past it. Was Feral ever presented or intended as a zombie movie? Or was it always kind of a blended sub-genre?
STC: I think they wanted to create something different but something that people would feel familiar with as well. I take it as more of a disease kind of film, and they’re just trying to create this new kind of creature. We’ve seen so many zombie movies, we’ve seen so many werewolf movies, so I think they were just trying to shine a new light on something people were familiar with.
KM: Absolutely. That’s one of the things I really loved about it; until Alice mentions zombies specifically, that had never even crossed my mind because it does feel like something so totally new and different.
STC: I love that! I love that.
KM: Feral has such an incredible female focus, which is awesome. Alice, your character, says she’s not strong, but she is fiercely capable. She’s kind of been low-key training for this scenario her whole life. She’s a life-saver by nature, but she does have that killer instinct. What was it like to inhabit her character, and did you have any personal experiences that you pulled in to the role?
STC: It’s interesting, because in my earlier career playing different roles… I’ve learned that acting is very much my therapy and growth in my own life with how I choose my roles. Like in my earlier career, I would play vulnerable characters, kind of like victims, because I was going through insecurities and growth and all that stuff. Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown into a strong individual and a strong woman, as I like to say myself, so I do go for roles now where the women are strong.
Alice I could relate to, especially when it comes to anyone that I love. Instantly, I would do anything for the person that I love, with no hesitation. And she’s the same way. She doesn’t hesitate, she’ll just take over a situation at the drop of a dime. And I’m very much like that in my own life. So it was interesting to play her. And it wasn’t hard playing her – I just felt that strength in myself and in her. So it was cool, it was cool to see that resemblance between myself and the character.
KM: And it really comes across on-screen. You seemed so comfortable and natural and confident. The character sounds like she’s not feeling very self-confident, but again she’s so capable and strong despite how often she’ll say “I’m not strong”. She really inhabits that strength, she’s a powerhouse.
STC: Yeah, I digged her. It was my first role that’s been like that, so I definitely want to play more roles like Alice. I had so much fun playing her. It’s fun playing a confident woman rather than a woman that’s hesitant all the time.
As women, we’re so strong and some people just forget that. Especially in this industry. We’re capable of doing things ourselves, you know?
KM: Absolutely! I think one of the things that I love about the horror genre, personally, is that I feel like there are so many of those really, really strong female roles and characters out there. They can come from that position of starting off insecure or unsure of yourself, but they find that inner strength through the challenges that they go through. There’s so much strength in those roles.
STC: Yeah, we’re seeing a lot more roles for women now, lately. I was actually just talking about this last night on a podcast – women used to be bait in the horror genre. That’s all women were. So now, the fact that that’s changed and women are the ones that can actually save lives… I think it’s just so cool. We’re evolving. I think it just makes for a more interesting movie, having that strength in a female character.
KM: With Feral, you mentioned that those type of intense roles have a kind of therapeutic quality. As far as making the movie itself and everything that may have come up, what was the biggest challenge of the overall process with that film?
STC: Honestly, it was such a smooth ride, everyone just got along really well. I love doing action, so anything that involves me doing a fight scene or shooting a gun is just my favorite, so I really enjoy doing those. There wasn’t anything that was really tough, we just had such a great time.
KM: I understand that you’re a horror fan, so do you hope to or aim to keep working in the genre more – especially since you’ve mentioned these are the kind of roles you’re gravitating towards? Do you have any upcoming projects you can share?
STC: I definitely would. I love doing horror. I think – the only thing with horror movies is I definitely have to be very selective with the characters. Like I said, I’m only going to choose the roles that are kind of like Alice. Kind of going in the realm of Resident Evil or Alien. Those are the roles that I’m wanting to play now, because that where I’m at internally.
But yeah, I do. Feral is one of them, Ghost House is one of them, I just wrapped on a movie called Starlight which was so much fun. I got to work with my buddy [Mitchell Altieri] who directed me in April Fool’s Day, so that was rad. I’m working on a podcast and am about to go start doing another movie next month called The Grooming. So I’m just working all over the place, here and there. So it’s fun. I’m just being very selective with the type of women that I play now.
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